Tom St John Gray goes in search of the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. With limited Chinese, I boarded a bus at a busy terminal in Beijing. My destination was one of the most celebrated and imposing of World Heritage Sites, the Great Wall. After being warned about the tourist trap of […]
A tiny skeleton dating back 55 million years is the oldest primate fossil ever found, shedding new light on human evolution, researchers say. Found in sedimentary rock from ancient lake bed in Hubei Province, central China, the fossil belongs to a previously unknown genus and species, dubbed Archicebus achilles by the international team who identified it. The bones […]
Before rice cultivation became prevalent in China, prehistoric inhabitants of its southern coast probably relied on sago palms as a staple food, according to new research published in PLOS ONE. Previously, little was known of this region’s ancient diet, as its acidic soils and humid climate hinder the preservation of plant remains. Now, however, Xiaoyan […]
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has pushed back agriculture in China by 12,000 years. The roots of agriculture are traditionally traced to tools used to grind seeds in the Middle East around 23,000 year ago. Now research led by Li Liu, Stanford University’s professor of Chinese archaeology, has […]
Also more sophisticated than previously thought is Peking Man, who may have made clothing and composite tools, archaeologists say. A subset of Homo erectus living in China c.200,000-750,000 years ago, the existence of Peking Man was revealed between 1929 and 1937 when a number of fossils, mostly from skulls, were excavated at Zhoukoudian, 55km (34 […]
Archaeologists have identified a 30,000-year-old stone tool as China’s earliest-known engraved object – a key marker in the development of modern human behaviour. Found at Shuidonggou in the 1980s, the 68mm-long (2.7in) core’s significance was realised during recent analysis of the site’s stone assemblage by Professor Gao Xing and Dr Peng Fei from the Chinese […]
More cutting-edge technology has been put to use by Scottish experts in China, creating 3D models of the Eastern Qing Tombs, the final resting place of China’s last Imperial dynasty. Designated a World Heritage Site in 2000, the necropolis was in use from AD 1666-1911 and houses 15 tomb complexes containing the remains of emperors, […]
Pingyao is an archaeological site with a difference: 30,000 people still live in it.
Once the banking capital of China, it has been continuously occupied for more than
2,700 years, and today provides an astonishing picture of life in Imperial China. But, asks Tom St John Gray, are tourist dollars turning the city into a theme park of the past?
“Red Blood filled her arteries, and her flesh was still malleable, with no sign of rigor mortis.”
Fragments of 20,000-year-old pottery discovered in south-east China have pushed back the use of ceramics to 10,000 years before agriculture. This shows that pottery was invented by mobile hunter-gatherers, rather than developing from the more settled lifestyles of early farmers, as was previously believed. Found during excavations at Xianrendong Cave, the sherds are 2,000-3,000 years […]
Sara Milledge Nelson Routledge, £26.00 ISBN 978-0415513472 Elegantly illustrated and admirably comprehensive in its scope, this synthesis of recent archaeological research into the prehistoric peoples of Donbei – best known in the west as Manchuria – sheds new light on a region rather less discussed than the civilisations of central China. Nelson’s introduction, contrasting the […]
China’s heritage sites are fast disappearing – to tomb-robbers and thieves, or to make way for industrial projects and new developments. These sobering conclusions are the result of research carried out by the country’s own governmental organisation. The State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) recorded a total of 766,722 ancient ruins, temples, and other sites […]
China’s prehistoric site at Hemudu awakens memories of Neolithic sites in South East Asia – and admiration for current Chinese archaeology.
Peking Man represents the spread of a new species of hominid, Homo erectus, in an earlier ‘Out of Africa’ migration beginning about a million years ago
China’s Han Empire was brought to its knees by powerful nomadic tribes. But just when defeat seemed inevitable, an ingenious new approach to frontier security was attempted. Arnaud Bertrand reveals new research into the origins of the Great Wall in the west.
Irving Finkel, the British Museum specialist on the Cyrus Cylinder, has announced that horse bones now in the Palace Museum in Beijing inscribed with extracts from the Cyrus proclamation are genuine ancient copies. The discovery raises important questions about relations between Iran and China during the 1st millennium BC, and why the text was important […]
Most people think the Gutenberg Bible, printed in Latin in Germany c.1455, is the world’s earliest printed book. It is certainly the world’s earliest book printed with movable metal type, and the progenitor of the printing revolution in Europe. However, the honour of being the earliest printed book goes to a Buddhist text, known in […]
An unexpected use for a plant has been discovered by scientists at Zhejiang University in the city of Hangzhou, in eastern China. They have discovered that congee – the rice porridge that is eaten for breakfast in many Asian countries – was added to slaked lime as a crucial ingredient in the mortar used in […]
archaeologists conducting excavations at the site in Xian are hoping to ascertain the success of conservation measures